Oct 31, 2017

Facebook announces efforts to boost ad transparency Featured

Facebook on Friday unveiled plans to improve transparency for its advertising, including making political advertisers verify their identity, following criticism over Russian efforts to influence in the 2016 US presidential election through social media.

Facebook said it will start testing its so-called “view ads”* tool that requires that all ads be associated with a page in Canada and roll it out in the US by summer.

When the feature does hit the US, the California-based company will begin a searchable archive of election related ads that will also allow users to see how much advertisers are paying and who they are targeting.

It also said that advertisers may be required to identify that they are running election-related commercials and verify themselves and their location. Verified advertisers will have to include a disclosure in election-related ads saying whom they were “Paid for by”. Facebook said it is building tools to help find and verify the identity of advertisers that do not proactively disclose that information. The company plans to begin with federal elections in the US and move from there to other elections in other countries.

Rob Goldman, vice president of Ads, said:

When it comes to advertising on Facebook, people should be able to tell who the advertiser is and see the ads they’re running, especially for political ads.

That level of transparency is good for democracy and it’s good for the electoral process. Transparency helps everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups.
The efforts come amid a wave of criticism for Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking site after it revealed that more than 3,000 ads had appeared to be linked to a Russian entity to promote political messages during the US presidential election campaign.

US legislation targeting digital advertising platforms including Facebook, Google and Twitter has won bipartisan support after senator John McCain became the first Republican earlier this month to back a bill extending rules covering political ads to online ones.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hear testimony from representatives of Facebook on Wednesday as part of the ongoing probe into what role Russian operatives played in interfering with the 2016 election.

(by Mamta Badkar – ft.com)

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